Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats scramble to reach deal on taxes On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Key CDC panel backs Moderna, J&J boosters MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday said she’s heard nothing from the White House in response to her request to postpone President TrumpDonald TrumpHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased MORE’s Jan. 29 State of the Union address while parts of the government remain shuttered.
Addressing reporters in the Capitol, Pelosi appeared surprised that the president — known for lashing out at critics in Congress, the media and beyond — has been so quiet since she asked for the postponement Wednesday morning.
“We haven’t heard. Very silent, more than 24 hours,” she said.
In her letter to Trump, Pelosi did not rescind her earlier invitation for the president to deliver his State of the Union speech on Jan. 29, but suggested the two “work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened.”
Asked how she would respond if Trump presses forward with the Jan. 29 schedule, Pelosi said, "We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it."
Republicans have framed Pelosi’s request for a postponement as a politically motivated attempt to deny Trump a huge national platform to make his case for the border wall amid the shutdown — a charge Pelosi denied on Thursday.
“I’m not denying the platform at all,” she said. “We’re saying let’s get a date when government is open. Let’s pay the employees.”
The partial shutdown, which entered its 27th day on Thursday, is the result of a partisan disagreement over Trump’s promised wall at the southern border. The closure has affected roughly a quarter of the federal government, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Secret Service, both of which would play in role in securing the Capitol during the president’s annual State of the Union.
Pelosi, in her letter to Trump, warned that the shutdown could undermine security during the high-profile event. She noted that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenFar-left bullies resort to harassing, shaming Kyrsten Sinema — it won't work Ex-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides MORE designated such speeches as "national special security events," which demand “the full resources of the Federal Government.”
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government reopens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has reopened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on Jan. 29,” Pelosi wrote.
On Thursday, however, Pelosi downplayed the security concerns, saying she has full confidence the employees of the nation’s security agencies would act in a “professional” manner to secure the State of the Union. But they should be paid to do it.
“I have no doubt that our men and women in the federal workforce have the capability to protect. … They’re professionals. They trained for this,” she said. “They should be paid for this.”
Pelosi also emphasized that the date of the State of the Union is not dictated by the Constitution or any other statute.
“The date of the State of the Union is not a sacred date. It’s not constitutionally required; it’s not any president’s birthday; it’s not anything,” she said. “It is a date that we agreed to — it could have been the week later.
“And it could be the week later, if government is open."
Administration officials, meanwhile, have shown no urgency in responding to Pelosi’s request. White House communications chief Bill Shine said Wednesday that there’s “no rush” to air a formal reply, but will do so at an appropriate time.
Trump addressed the shutdown Thursday morning, hammering Pelosi on the border security issue. He did not, however, mention the State of the Union controversy.